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Pukka Herbs Ignites Plant Power
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Pukka Herbs Ignites Plant Power
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I'm reading
Pukka Herbs Ignites Plant Power
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Partners
8 March 2022

Pukka Herbs Ignites Plant Power

We hear from Sonya Byron, Pukka Herbs Australia’s Herbal Expert

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We love your tea! But you’re so much more than that, right? Tell us a bit about your mission.     

The answer to that question really lies in the realisation that we, as humans, are deeply reliant on the natural world. For thousands of years we’ve tapped into the healing power of nature. There’s even evidence from ancient Iraqi graves that Neanderthals used herbs as medicine, and that was more than 60,000 years ago! At Pukka, we want to help people rediscover this ancient connection – this power of organic plants to support physical and mental health.

But in the busyness of our everyday lives, we’re becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, and this has devastating impacts on our wellbeing. As a society, we’re also putting immense pressure on the natural environment. 

So, in a nutshell, Pukka helps people to nurture healthier, happier lives through the power of organic plants – and we do it in a way that supports the planet. We share our organic teas and herbal expertise, to help people reconnect with nature’s healing power. Pukka also campaigns for a healthier planet, because when the Earth thrives, we all thrive. 

What are the origin stories of Pukka and how has it evolved over the years?  

20 years ago, Sebastian Pole, one of our founders, was a practising herbalist. But he wanted to take his powerful herbal tea blends beyond the walls of his clinic. His co-founder, Tim Westwell, was an ethical entrepreneur, who wanted to use the power of commerce to benefit nature. It was a meeting of two very different minds, but they shared a passion for using the power of commerce to benefit people and the planet. So right from the beginning, Pukka supported organic farming, fair trade and conservation. And while our products and packaging has evolved, we’ve always championed a holistic approach – one that’s rooted in ancient herbal wisdom and enlightened by science.

Tell us about the beautiful designs on your packaging.  

We love our packaging! It really captures the essence of the Pukka story. Our designers use vibrant colours to capture the magic of nature, and we use planet-friendly vegetable-based inks to print it. We also use illustrations of human and plant elements woven together, to represent the relationship that we all have with the natural world. 

Each of our 42 teas is truly unique. They’ve all been purposefully crafted with a distinct flavour profile, and specific health benefits. So it makes sense that each one has its own gorgeous packaging. It’s a treasure trove of beauty and colour! Not only is our packaging as beautiful as the herbs inside, it’s also 100% recyclable, and made from forest-friendly FSC® certified card.

What lessons have your community taught you about health and wellbeing?  

I’ve been incredibly inspired by how people in our community are prioritising their physical and mental wellbeing, particularly since the onset of the pandemic. In the past, it was quite common for people to wait until they were experiencing a major health crisis before they paid attention. Nowadays, people are much more proactive, particularly in terms of their immune system and mental health. They’re actively seeking information on sleep, stress, nutrition, digestion, and healthy movement – all the foundations of wellbeing. They’re also actively seeking high quality information on organic herbal teas to support symptoms like chronic stress, insomnia and digestive issues. So making wellbeing a priority, taking care of dietary and lifestyle foundations, and opting for simple, natural herbal supports for common health symptoms – these are all important lessons I’ve learned through working with our community.  

What does a herbal revolution look like and why do we need it?  

I dream of a world in which herbs and herbal remedies are an integral part of healthcare! From a Pukka perspective, a herbal revolution looks like everyone having easy access to high quality, organically grown herbs, and also to high quality information to be able to use those herbs effectively. 

When people are as likely to reach for a herb as they are for a drug to address health issues like stress or poor sleep, that’s when we believe the revolution will have succeeded. And this is incredibly important for both personal and planetary health. In Australia, health expenditure is rising* and chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability^. It’s clear that we need a new paradigm – one that prioritises simple and inexpensive preventative measures, before complex and costly treatment interventions. We believe that organically grown herbs and herbal remedies will be at the forefront of this revolution, and this will have positive flow on economic and environmental benefits.  

What advice would you give other small businesses seeking to embed sustainable practices into their work?  

I would share with fellow small business owners how important it is to start where we are today, to do what we can, and to not “let perfection be the enemy of the good.” I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of global sustainability issues, and to feel that we’re too small to make much of a difference. It’s true that Pukka can exert a large global influence. We can implement best practice organic standards, and commit to being carbon net zero by 2030. But the scale of the climate and biodiversity crisis means that it’s going to take every single one of us, doing everything we can, to ensure a healthy and sustainable planet for all.

 

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Health Expenditure Australia. 2019-2020. Accessed: 04 March 2022

^Source: The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre. About Prevention. Accessed: 04 March 2022

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